Rural/urban

  Population considerations:

  • Urban
    • Safety. Levels of or perceptions of interpersonal crime may decrease physical activity in urban areas (Keller, 2006). Urban residents may have other safety concerns, including poor street lighting or sidewalk conditions. 
    • Lack of access to resources. Some urban communities may not have access to places to be physically active (e.g., a park, a trail or a community center) due to financial barriers or the absence of these facilities (Keller, 2006).
  • Rural
    • Safety. A barrier to physical activity that might be present in some communities is the presence of unleashed and unattended dogs. 
    • Lack of access to resources. Some rural areas may not have recreational facilities, parks or trails for physical activity.  In addition, individuals may be required to travel great distances in order to reach the facilities, but have no personal vehicle or access to public transportation. Some residential rural communities may also lack sidewalks or streetlights.  The absence of resources may make it challenging for individuals to be physically active in these communities (Wilcox, 2000). In addition, rural residents may face high rates of poverty that influence their ability to pay for facilities or equipment.

  Strategies to address these considerations:

  • Work with the local government. Working with your local governments and citizen groups can be helpful in creating policies to decrease safety concerns.  It might be useful to work with police or create a neighborhood watch program, or a buddy system.
  • Enhance resources. It may be useful to develop community centers or walking trails in these communities.  Alternately, it may be possible to work with existing community centers or recreational centers to provide affordable transportation systems or create car pool options. 
  • Enhance the environment. Improving outdoor conditions (e.g., lighting, sidewalks, scenery, traffic, crime) will enable both urban and rural residents to feel more comfortable being active outdoors.

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